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One Year Ago

There are those Sundays when you get started slowly, and feel a little antsy actually sitting and reading the paper so you decide to go on a really long run. You come home to a Sam in the kitchen meticulously chopping cabbage and green onion, boiling eggs and catching up with his mom on the phone. Suddenly, you’re no longer antsy. The sun is out and it feels like the best, slowest kind of Sunday.

That’s what happened this past weekend. We even had the back door open and the heat turned off. It was a big day here in Seattle. There are many things that Sam has made for me this year that I’d love to recreate on my own or even share with you, but most of them aren’t really written down. Sam’s theory on cooking, baking and recipes in general is that you need to have a feel for them more than anything. This is not my strength. He believes in having good base recipes that you just have a sense for and then adapt from there. You want to be able to make a great scone and pancake whether you’re in your own kitchen or out in a remote cabin during the summer. You want to be able to roast vegetables, make salad dressing, cook a simple fish, and make cornbread and jammy pastry. He does these without a hard-and-fast recipe. They’re basics in our house, and he’s been working hard to get me to be more comfortable shutting the cookbooks and learning to trust my own instincts in remembering  and recreating them.

This coleslaw? Sam wanted me to make sure to tell you that this is most definitely a dish where you stock up on the ingredients, but use your intuition to guide you regarding the amounts. This isn’t fine cooking or precise baking. He added a little more mustard this time around and we threw in all of our parsley so it wouldn’t go to waste. It’s not the same coleslaw that he might have made for himself a month ago, but it was delicious all the same. For this reason, the recipe listed below is really a rough guide, so set aside a bit of time and chop and taste and adjust as you like.

Sure, coleslaw is no Salted Caramel Cupcake. It’s no Deluxe Brownie or Shaker Lemon Pie, but it can turn a Sunday around just like that, and actually keeps in the fridge beautifully for a few weekday lunches. Unlike most coleslaw recipes I’ve tried, Sam’s version has bits of hard-boiled egg, a smattering of green onion, celery and poppy seeds, and a healthy swath of Italian parsley. He dresses it with both mustard and mayonnaise and a little salt and pepper, and tastes and adjusts often as he goes. Remember in my last post how I said that I often throw together meals and that many folks don’t necessarily define this as actual cooking? Well if I throw them together, Sam most certainly composes them. He chops vegetables much finer than I do, he takes more time and has more patience. For this reason, this is one most lovely coleslaw. I can’t wait for you to try it.

As we sat in the nook on Sunday afternoon finessing this coleslaw, it was hard not to think about what we’d been up to one year ago–the weekend I picked Sam up from Point Reyes Station and it all began. A year of plane trips and late night phone calls, visits and holidays. On Monday we celebrated our anniversary together with a very special dinner at Spinasse filled with buttery pasta, good wine, rabbit meatballs, and a goat cheese mousse with local rhubarb. Waking up yesterday with big to-do lists, we got right to work: me running errands for Marge, he working on a design project. As I sat flustered in traffic, I couldn’t stop thinking about the dinner we shared and how much I wished I were back at that candlelit table, slowly ambling away an unusually warm evening with Sam. But in between those meals, those long conversations, those glasses of wine, there has to be wonderfully basic food to sustain us. Quiet Sundays, boiled eggs and cabbage, The Book Review and calls to catch up with your mom. Sam: I hope this upcoming year is filled with many more bowls of coleslaw (and banana pancakes too, please). Together. On Sundays. As I know it will be.


Sam's Coleslaw | A Sweet Spoonful

Sam's Coleslaw

Yield: 6 servings
Total Time: 25 mins


1 head cabbage (green or purple)
2-3 green onion, chopped
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1-2 tablespoons chopped chives (fresh or dried)
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise, plus more if you like
salt + pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons (or more) poppy seeds


Chop the cabbage as fine as you have thepatience for.

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, green onion, parsley, celery and eggs. Toss to combine. Add the mustard and mayonnaise and stir together. Taste to see where it stands; add more mustard or mayonnaise if you wish. Season with salt and pepper. Finish with a generous dusting of poppy seeds and mix the whole thing together.

Store covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

  1. Posted April 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Happy One, you two. And yes, please, to eggs in my slaw.

  2. Posted April 5, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Crazy, was it only a year ago? I honestly thought it’s been much longer…because everything sounds wonderful, comfortable. 🙂 Happy anniversary to you two, and here’s to more good food shared, and memories.

    Speaking of slaw, I haven’t been big on it until the beau came along. We’ve been consuming a lot of cabbage these days, too, and I’m bookmarking this for next week’s cabbage preps.

  3. Sara Farley
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Awe Megan…. I love to follow your blog and this looks absolutely divine.. I can’t wait to make it !

  4. Posted April 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

    So sweet. Happy anniversary!
    Thanks for the recipe. Sounds good for when it starts getting really hot around here. I like that it’s light on the mayo. I may try more mustard because I’m crazy about the stuff.

  5. Posted April 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Happy Anniversary you two. I’m so glad this year brought you here. Seattle is better for it.

  6. Posted April 5, 2012 at 10:20 am

    What Jess said. 🙂

  7. Posted April 5, 2012 at 11:06 am

    A mandolin will help cut down on the mind numbing chop work, as long as you watch your fingers!

    Very happy one year, I am glad that you two ended up in seattle!

  8. Posted April 5, 2012 at 11:07 am

    One year? It seems like it’s been forever. Cheers!

  9. megang
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Anne- Well, one year since we had our first visit after months of phone/love letters before. So I count it as longer than a year for sure, but you’ve got to choose a date, so we chose the weekend Sam visited for the first time. Hope you’re doing well and I’ll see you soon, yes? xox

  10. Reba
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Just as a good relationship should be –a solid base with some improvisation! Thank you so much for sharing your stories here.

  11. Mary
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Gorgeous, Megan. As he said: “Happy next eighty.” XO to you + Sam

  12. Posted April 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    So sweet Megan. Lovely, just lovely.

  13. Posted April 6, 2012 at 6:24 am

    happy happy one to you both – i hope you have many more meals together, just as beautiful as this one.

  14. Posted April 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Happy Anniversary!
    This looks light and very appetizing.

  15. Posted April 6, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Beautiful! And this is the same way I like to make slaw … by taste, by inspiration, by what I happen to have in the fridge. I love to make one similar to this with an Asian-style dressing and peanuts. Super addicting!

  16. megang
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks so much, Brandi!

  17. megang
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks, Mary. When going through the comments today on the blog, I explained you to Sam as a wonderful, wonderful supporter of Marge + Megan. You were one of the first. xoxx

  18. megang
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Good tip, Ryan. I used to make this Shaker Lemon pie every weekend for the farmers market and would work my mandolin like crazy…it’s retired now 🙂 But this is a good point. Sam uses one for his brussels sprout salad, but I think he likes chopping by hand sometimes. I’m glad we ended up here, too!

  19. megang
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks, Sara. It means so much that you read it. Hope you’re doing well and enjoying a bit of spring. xox

  20. megang
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks, Ileana. Yes, the recipe is nice because you can make it as light (or not light) as you’d like. I’ve been craving it ever since posting it, and think we’re going to have to go for a round 2 this weekend. Happy Friday, m

  21. Posted April 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    so sweet. it is charming how much more detail boys take in chopping things isn’t it? mine chop never looks quite meticulous. cheers to a great year ahead.

  22. julie
    Posted April 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Just made this !!!! It’s wonderful, can’t wait to share with the family tomorrow! Happy Easter Megan.

  23. megang
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Oh, great! Happy Easter to you, too, Julie! Enjoy the day with the family. xox

  24. Posted April 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Happy anniversary! I do love a good coleslaw AND a good hard-boiled egg, though I’ve never combined the two. That Sam is a smartypants.

  25. Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:12 am

    megan, happy anniversary!! how lovely and wonderful and so glad you guys are finally in one spot!

  26. Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Happy anniversary Megan and Sam. Eggs in slaw – what a great idea! Especially after ‘the hunt’ yesterday, I have a refrigerator full. Thank you!

  27. megang
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Ah yes! ‘The hunt’ always means there are a few leftover eggs. This is the perfect way to use those guys up. Thanks for your well wishes, m

  28. megang
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Combine, Casey!

3 Trackbacks

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    […] of the ground and into my kitchen. I’m so ready. I have my cole slaw recipe all picked out. (Sam’s Coleslaw: a Rough Recipe from A Sweet Spoonful for you curious […]

  2. By Sam’s Coleslaw: A Rough Recipe | on September 5, 2012 at 7:07 am

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